Operation Global Media Domination: The Barrett Brown Situation

Barrett Brown Busted

Barrett Brown Busted

That glum-looking fellow is Barrett Brown: author, journalist, YouTube extraordinaire (really), Anonymous member, and fameball. At that moment, he had plenty to look glum about, having been arrested on a small sampler pack of charges which quickly grew into a basket-crushing potential 110 years in prison for, essentially, shooting off his mouth on YouTube and passing along a link in an IRC. He’s been in pretrial custody with no bail for nearly a year, and he’s about to go to actual real trial as opposed to pretrial hearings, about which we’ve all heard too much lately, particularly if we’ve also been following Jeremy Hammond and Sabu, which we have. For a living.

Yeah, not exactly what the guidance counselor suggested in high school as a career choice, but oh well.

I’ve covered his case(s) several times for the Daily Dot and this blog, and today there was a hearing to decide if the actual trial would be the subject of a media blackout; in other words, Barrett is prevented from speaking to the media about any aspect of his case, or even any topic that might touch on it. Of course it went through, but of interest to certain inwardly-focused-lately bloggers the defence presented a strong rebuttal which included a list of the influential articles by and about BB.

And guess who wrote two of them?

Arrested Anonymous Activist Barrett Brown Sends Letter from Prison

Anonymous Spokesman Barrett Brown Faces New Charges

So, on the one hand it’s good to be a part of this. On the other hand, it sucks that the motion was successful and that BB now has to live in the most unnatural-to-him condition of all; the condition of not conveying information. A lot of people have wanted to silence him for a very long time.

Coincidentally (???) WikiLeaks released new SpyFiles, carrying on Brown’s Project PM work of watching the watchers. Nice timing there, Assange.

In unrelated-but-still-work news, it appears that the Syrian Electronic Army isn’t happy just going after news organizations, but is now going after individual reporters who report on them, even favorably. I got a solid tip that a journalist whom I will not name has had some trouble with relentless attempts to control his Twitter account, and of course I’ve been getting increasing numbers of phishing emails for months now, along with the occasional romantic advance from an African woman on Facebook. Today I found some spammer had managed to put yet another Event on my Gcal, which is just, let’s face it, annoying even when a) the time for the pseudo event (“lets be freinds”)  is already past b) I’m a Vancouverite and therefore my solid commitment to attend an event is zero indication of whether or not I will actually attend.

And, just to up the wordcount, I’m going to copy/paste some material that was cut from my article today. Gee, can’t think why.

Anonymous is having a Hamlet-like crisis of conscience over OpSyria, and there is a significant chance that it will end up costing actual human lives, however it’s decided in the end. We spoke to blackplans, a spokesperson for OpSyria, about what Anonymous has, what it will use, and why (for once) they are sitting on something which could very well literally destroy their enemies.

NYPA. The four most important letters in Anonymous stand for: Not Your Private Army, and they remind everyone that the so-called Internet Hate Machine is an unruly, anarchic collective that cannot be pointed like a gun at any target that takes someone’s fancy. Any Operation has to attract and retain enough committed, talented, and energetic people to accomplish its goals, which is why “totally getting back at that kid who was, like, mean to me once” is never going to become an Op.The decision-making process at Anonymous is messy, time-consuming, and self-selecting; if not enough good people show up, the Op fizzles and subsides and the people move on. It’s a natural, if messy process. But once you’ve got good people, they’ve staked out their targets, they’ve made their attacks, and you’ve got the MacGuffin (documents proving identity, control of a database, a botnet that can DDoS a website into oblivion, or as in OpSyria’s case: all of the above) there is rarely a moment of hesitation. You dump that file, you paste that dox, you fire your lazorz, and then you stick a press release on Pastebin and sit back and laugh as the victim flails helplessly.

Not this time. Here’s what is going down, and why, at OpSyria.

As we reported Tuesday, OpSyria, the anti-Assad operation which includes members of Anonymous along with some non-Anons, claims to have proof of the identities of five key players in the Syrian Electronic Army. Exposing those people, particularly if they happen to be located outside of Syria, would almost certainly mean their targeting and eventual death at the hands of anti-Assad forces, whether the rebel Free Syrian Army or a foreign government that involves itself in the Syrian civil war (as the US may do).

This isn’t hanging out with your friends in front of a Scientology center singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It isn’t sitting in your Mom’s basement DDoSing the Pope’s website.

Shit is very, very real.

[at this point you can go to the article to see the majority of the interview. The below and the above were not included]

Blackplans: I have been told to tell we also have evidence of collusion between personnel of the Syrian Embassy in Bucharest and a member of the SEA who resides in Romania. We have found statements by him online to this effect. “I work most of the interrogation .. figures Syrian embassy in Romania in front of you online. Call and ask.” Apologies for the poor translation, this was in response to allegations of disloyalty from another senior SEA member.

Oh, and I will just leave this here…

[presumably they don’t feel so bad about alerting Romania to the possible presence of the SEA operative(s) in their midst. I asked for more details and was told no, they couldn’t give them to me without completely doxing the person, and they didn’t want to do that. I suppose they just wanted to fire a shot across the bow of the SEA as a show of power]

————————————————————————————————————————–

There you have it: An Operation combining Anonymous and anonymous non-Anons is in possession of information that governments around the world have been pursuing for months. If they use it, those people will almost certainly die. If they don’t use it, what was the point of the Operation? To get to the point of pulling the trigger, and then to walk away instead? In a world at war, whether officially or unofficially, that is power beyond that of the state, of any Nation State. Are they ready for it? Is the world ready for it? Is this the end of the SEA as an entity, or will they double down on Assad and strike back somehow at a headless, faceless, stateless anti-organization? And what will they, or their enemies, do to those whose exposure has threatened the SEA itself, whether that information is revealed publicly or not?

It’s not too much to say that the fate of this not-officially-declared-yet cyberwar rests in the hands of Anonymous and its allies. And they do not leave fingerprints.

Operation Global Media Domination: The Mojave Phone Booth situation

Lily Tomlin calls the Mojave Phone Booth

Lily Tomlin calls the Mojave Phone Booth

760-733-9969. Those 10 digits might signify nothing to the masses, but to the digerati, however, they tell one of the great stories of the Internet.

In short, the Mojave Phone Booth is back.

That’s the intro to my article on Jered Morgan’s resurrection of one of the most legendary phone numbers of all time. And here’s what one happy reader had to say about it. I remember this guy. Used to come into the Starbucks where I worked all the time. Nice guy. It did my heart good to see that at least one writer in the world was making enough to afford two lattes a day on money he didn’t have to make marketing stuff.

William Gibson was probably referring to Jered’s actions and not to my article, but I’m gonna take whatever I can get, right?

Someone else wrote a haiku about it:

Also, finally FINALLY I have been found Fark-worthy. Who knew people liked old-timey phone numbers so much?

Vince in the Bay Podcast: Disorderly Conduct – Hammond Plea Deal

Save Jeremy Hammond

Save Jeremy Hammond

Tonight I was a guest (one of a mob, really) on the Vince in the Bay radio podcast, talking about the Jeremy Hammond plea deal that was announced today.I didn’t do too badly, considering I haven’t slept since Sunday. Once again I think how nice it is to talk with people who don’t jump out of their skins when you talk about the coming revolution. Although it’s doubtful some of the more conservative people I work with will be thrilled to the very core of their beings at some of what I said. Take a listen to me, Vince, Subverzo, allshiny, Andrew “Panda” Blake, ShadowDXS, FuxNet, Hammurabis Code, Nicole Powers, Neal Rauhauser, and shokufeyesib.

[audio http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vinceinthebay/2013/05/29/disorderly-conduct–hammond-plea-deal.mp3]

If you want to see what the back row of the audience looks like at a podcast, you can scroll through the chatroom log. Enjoy?

Meet a Forum Volunteer: raincoaster, She’ll Fucking Cut You

GPOY, bitch please edition

GPOY, bitch please edition

I can’t take credit for the title: that was all the doing of Gabriel, of Vankleek Hill fame. He thought the original title of my profile as a WordPress.com tech support forum volunteer was completely inappropriate: Meet a Forum Volunteer: Lorraine Murphy does lack a certain zing, does it not?

I’ve apparently answered 60,000 questions in the forums, and if I had to guess I’d say about 5% of those snippily (scroll through this blog for examples like this one). I didn’t include this in the interview, but once I got an email from a senior support staffer w/r/t a snarky reply I’d made some rando who insisted on being given instructions for something basic but NOT, god forbid, either a copy/paste of the info in the support docs or a link to the appropriate page: nooooo, he wanted someone to put the exact same thing into words in a completely unique way, just for him/her/it, because he/she/it was a very busy person/thing and couldn’t be bothered to read prefab answers but wanted bespoke, immediately, and for free.

My reply began, “Listen Princess…” and continued from there. The staffer emailed to say he probably SHOULD have deleted the thread, but it was just too damn funny, so it’s out there still somewhere in the archives. Happy Hunting.

But back to the glorious interview with ME ME ME! Here’s a taste of the wonders that lie within!

You’ve posted over 60,000 replies in the WordPress.com forums since 2006. Thank you for your support! What types of questions do you like helping users with, and what do you find the most rewarding about contributing?

I like answering someone’s first question the most. People are often shocked by how fast they get an answer, how clear it is, and how they can put the solution to work right away; they’re very grateful, and it’s wonderful to see. The next best thing is when people who’ve asked questions in the past come to the forums and start answering questions themselves.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your volunteer experience in the forums?

Meaningful, strong relationships can be forged over mundane, repetitive questions about domain mapping. Really, my forum experience at WordPress.com shows that humans are, even in the midst of technology, fundamentally human.

One of my friends reported that his (positive) comment on the post had been first held in moderation, then deleted. And he didn’t even swear! They’re awfully careful at Corporate WordPress Global HQ, and very, very polite. As you can imagine, there was a titch of editing to my responses, but I’d tried hard not to swear so they didn’t change much except to cut for length.

One of the commenters called my situation a “rags to riches blogger story” which shows you how low people set the bar for riches nowadays, although it was very nice of her.

Anyhoodle, it’s very good for hits. Why, between this with it’s two hundred plus social shares, and the Mummified Fairy Post, now enjoying a renaissance thanks to some random OTHER mummified fairy trying to steal its thunder, looking at the stats graph is like travelling back in time to the glory days of Follow links on the Global Tag Pages. Sigh. It seems so, so long ago now.

We had to blog in black and white back then, kids. Uphill in the snow.

The Birth of a Meme

You can blame Julian Assange for an awful lot: This whole Cablegate kerfuffle. The Collateral Murder video. Embarrassing virtually every nation and security company on the planet. Really stunningly poor relations with at least two exes. Annoying the staff at the Ecuadorian Embassy by humming to himself too loudly on occasion. That jacket.

And now, this. It’s all yesterday’s fault.

Words, my friends. They fail me.

Particularly when the poster in question fails to back it up with the magical words “I’m buying.” Sigh. Tease. Story of my life.

Now this girl, she has got it going on. Or had. Since nobody has heard from her since posting this.

Here Cthulhu! says Summon Cthulhu Kid

Here Cthulhu!

Seriously, I’m dying to find this kid and her dad, for soooo many reasons. So many questions.

  • Did she summon Cthulhu?
  • Did she do it twice, since she got over 2000 Likes?
  • Did she summon Cthluhu instead and if so what does s/he look like?
  • Did she summon Cthulhu and then just pick a random additional Great Old One to summon, and if so which one and why?
  • This.
  • Who the hell is she and where did she and her dad come up with this brilliant idea? Seriously, I want to interview her for the Daily Dot if I can find her but the only lead I’ve got is that it was uploaded to the Atheism Loves You Facebook page on Monday and they can’t remember where they got it. Anyone?
  • Also, what is an atheist site doing supporting theist endeavours such as this, however eldritch and unspeakable they may be?

COMPLETELY UNRELATED POSTSCRIPT: Today’s celebrity encounter, thanks to a comment I made on a story Fidel wrote about “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell.

https://twitter.com/CandaceBushnell/status/331910083942432768